In a claim for acoustic shock, it was alleged that the headset being used by a call centre worker was defective and had failed to limit the sound level to which she was exposed during an incident in which she heard a sudden, high frequency tone.
The engineer instructed on behalf of the Claimant had conducted a test, using a home-made apparatus, to demonstrate the maximum sound level that could be produced by this headset. A Finch acoustic engineering expert, instructed on this occasion on behalf of the Defendant, chose not to conduct a test.
Giving evidence in court, the Finch expert was able to explain, by reference to the relevant standards for telephony equipment, that the Claimant’s test had not been conducted in accordance with a recognised procedure, using the appropriate specialist equipment. Instead, the expert chose to rely on a test carried out, post incident, by the headset manufacturer, using the accepted industry standard method; this showed that the maximum achievable sound level was 24dB lower than that alleged.